Response thread for a TeamPyro post

March 11th, 2009

I posted some comments over at the TeamPyro blog, related to prophecy & charismatics.  We were off-topic for the post, so we cut it short.  I’m posting this here so that anyone coming from there has a chance to continue the discussion.

The post was Evangelicalism down the drain?.

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38 Responses to “Response thread for a TeamPyro post”

  1. I don’t even follow the perspective of the dissenters. I’m very pleased to see the logic of Semantics permeating your spiritual discussions :)

  2. And by “I don’t even follow” I mean, I don’t understand the line of reasoning that “if it’s from God it must be infallible”, therefore meaning “anything that anyone says about God must be inherently true if it comes from God”…
    If God tells me to give 1000$ to Bobby, and I only give 750, that 750 still came from God – but I still screwed up God’s message.
    If God tells my mother that an earthquake is coming, and then Mom tells my dad that an earthquake is coming and they’d better get to higher ground, well the fact that an earthquake is coming is still true as toasted toads, it just got added to…

    Obviously, we misinterpret what God is saying, all the time. So is it not prophecy when we communicate what God was saying, but add fallible stuff as well, like our jaded emotions or lack of faith? That’s fine, but don’t say it’s worthless. Because if God’s intent was still communicated, then obviously it’s worth something. Whether or not we call that prophecy seems completely irrelevant. To this conversation at least.

    God knows how I will speak something he gives me, and he also knows how it will be perceived. It seems like the dissenters’ premise must be that he cannot work within that to wrest his message from a broken communication.

    I know you don’t like the language of God “telling” people things, but I’m not sure of a better terminology – and I’m confident you know what I mean :)
    I like what you had to say, T, I agree wholeheartedly.

  3. Tim says:

    I don’t think they so much object to the idea of “if an action or message was initiated/planned/instructed by God, it will be infallible”. Their objection has more to do with using the label “a revelation from God” or “prophecy” for that kind of fallible report.

    Which is interesting. I think that’s why Wayne Grudem defines prophecy as “a report of revelation”, rather than “revelation”–the revelation is the spontaneous bringing-to-mind. Similarly, if I imperfectly report what Scripture says, my speech isn’t the revelation.

    However… Can we say that God is bringing revelation to my listeners? Through my fallible report? That’s the parallel to the charismatic perspective of prophecy.

  4. Jair says:

    Looks like the ceasation conversation went on over there, probably would have saved their meta if they just directed people here. Oh well.

  5. Daryl says:

    It seems to me that as soon as you bring the idea of a “fallible report”, you’re into people claiming prophecy when, in fact, they’re missing stuff and adding stuff. Deuteronomy calls that person a false prophet and from there on out, they’re done.

    Are the proponents of modern-day “prophecy” willing to terminate someones career as a prophet as soon as they get anything, anything at all, wrong? That seems to be the biblical standard whether you adopt a cessationist view or a continualist view.

    If you adopt that perspective (and I don’t think Scripture gives any other option) then the list of “prophets” would get pretty short, pretty quick methinks.

  6. Daryl says:

    Oh, and Jair, your little bit on the Pyro meta kind of shows that you haven’t understood the cessationist position.

    It is not that we believe that God doesn’t heal or do miracles. We do.
    It’s that the apostolic office and its attendant gifts have ceased. That includes revelatory gifts (tongues, prophecy) and the Peter-and-John-in-the-temple kinds of healings. The kinds of healings that Benny Hinn pretends to do.
    The cessationist position is irrelevant to what James is talking about.

    Hope that clarifies things a little.

  7. Daryl says:

    I suppose another pertinent question would be, if you’re not quoting Scripture, how can anyone test what is said? After all, the test is Scripture.

    And if you are quoting Scripture, why call it prophecy, why not call it…quoting Scripture.

    And if you’re not quoting Scripture, and you expect people to take it as revelation, where does it stop? Do we add to the 66 books?
    And, if you’re not quoting Scripture at all, how do people sift what is being said to find what really is from God.

    Having spent way too much time in Charismatic circles, I have always found that people essentially either call something “prophecy” and don’t act like it (inconsistent) or call it prophecy and don’t sift it at all (just plain dumb and irresponsible). Practically speaking, lines are almost never drawn. And I’ve never ever seen someone have to stop prophesying altogether do to an errant track record.

    So again, cessationist or not. Who does this biblically?

  8. Tim says:

    Daryl,

    Thanks for dropping by. As an initial reply:

    The misunderstandings are one of the consistently most frustrating things in this area of controversy–coming from both sides. People talk past each other. And sometimes it turns out that they’re far closer than they realize, when you get past the differing terminology. (For instance, healing ministry. When I talk to charismatics about that, the vast majority of what they’re promoting is simply fervent, hopeful, watchman-on-the-wall prayer. Some fall too far into a “name-it-and-claim-it” mentality, but I have also found extraordinarily well-balanced attitudes.)

    Along those lines, I would recommend some reading for you–I’m perceiving some lack-of-familiarity-with-the-other-side on your part.

    Wayne Grudem, The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today.
    One of the most well-developed treatments from the continuationist perspective. You’ll find that he addresses most/all of the questions/objections you’re raising. (Whether he demonstrates his case Biblically is another question for you to consider. But if you want a well-informed understanding of the other side, you should really get ahold of this book.)

    Jack Deere, Surprised by the Power of the Spirit
    I had more objections or disagreements with this book than with Grudem’s. But he does raise a lot of food for thought that you really ought to consider–particularly in the area of “sign gifts”. Even if you end with disagreement, your own views will be better-developed for reading this book.

    A couple specific replies:

    I suppose another pertinent question would be, if you’re not quoting Scripture, how can anyone test what is said? After all, the test is Scripture.

    And if you are quoting Scripture, why call it prophecy, why not call it…quoting Scripture.

    Now that’s rather silly, as you worded it, though I share a related question. You test the ideas in an alleged word of prophecy against the teaching of Scripture. Most of the speech that you hear in life won’t be quotation of Scripture. If someone has given words in order to “edify, encourage, or console“, then you test those words against Scripture–it’s the same testing, whether or not they introduced their words with “God wants us to know”, or “God is saying”.

    However, I said the following in the TeamPyro thread:

    My difficulty comes with alleged words of prophecy that can’t be evaluated based on Scripture–claims about which job you should take, etc. I don’t understand how we’re supposed to receive genuinely new information–new instructions–without regarding it as authoritative. (Charismatics need to be clear on that, if they want to convince people.)

    I’m not clear on how we’re supposed to exercise discernment there. I can say this: If someone claimed to have instructions for me from God, I would ask them how to authenticate it. If they can’t impress me like in 1 Cor. 14:24-25, I can’t place any weight on it. (I would consider it as advice coming from them.) But if they do impress me that way… Wouldn’t that mean I should regard their instructions as the very words of God? How can that be less than Scripturally authoritative?

    Those are my questions.

    Re: Failure to exercise discernment
    Right question. If they’re not sifting, then they’re ignoring Paul’s instructions. That doesn’t help us decide between continuation and cessation–but we do need to be calling each other to exercise mature discernment.

  9. Jair says:

    Daryl,

    Well that response is a blatant bit of arrogance. First of all, I addressed ceasationalism as it is taught in Baptist seminary, secondarily, I addressed EXACTLY the three things you said where ceased. Re-read what I said, and perhaps crack the Bible open to the given passage and you have to at least admit that what I said deals with exactly the three things you mentioned above.

    The cornerstone argument passage deals with Tongues and Prophesying. I addressed the core argument from that passage. Then I added that my church follows the procedures in James five and sees healing, while God does often do gradual healing ect, what I was talking about there was going from paralysis one day to swimming 50 laps the the next. Just like that. It isn’t often, but it happens, just last month was the last time.

    Now I usually don’t like to retort so strongly, but you accused me of not understanding you’re position, then you clearly outlined you’re position as containing exactly the three things I addressed. That goes beyond the level of acceptable oversight and is a very strong indicator (if not proof) that you’re not seriously considering the reason people reject you’re position.

    Let us indeed look for clarity.

    As for the next section, how to test prophecy is also outlined in Deuteronomy. First if it calls you to false gods it is from false gods and don’t let that person have anything to do with you (or kill them, as the text says, meh) second if they say some sign will happen and it doesn’t then don’t fear or give credence to their prophecies (though they are otherwise ok). Reason and observation are clearly spelled out in scripture as tests.

    The view that prophecy should be tested against scripture is based on the faith in the scripture as the Word of God, thus prophecy contrary to any portion of scripture equates to leading people to other gods. That test itself is not spelled out in scripture, but its perfectly reasonable.

    Now, what I just said was that testing by scripture is an advanced test, not a basic one, and it is almost never applicable to actual prophecy. Scripture and Prophecy are two distinct things that deal with different sets of information. Prophecy is much more mundane, it deals either with things that will happen or will happen if X conditions are met. Scripture deals with salvation, redemption, the history of Gods people and Gods action in the world. No individual prophecy (even those recorded in scripture) measure up to scripture itself.

    Of the prophecies I know from the very few tried and true prophets I know very very few of them are of the nature that requires they be tested by scripture. Usually it deals with statements like ‘you’re having problems in X area because of Y error (typically sin related)’ in conversations with people that just met each other and know nothing of Y in the persons life. Otherwise it deals with flat out, this is going to happen so be prepared.

    This kind of content has no potential to add to the 66 books, nor does it threaten the authority of scripture. Once someone is proven to be a prophet its pretty darn authoritative though, ignore to you’re own peril at least. That is, fear it. Remember though Duteronomy didn’t tell the person proven false to stop prophesying, it said no one else has to fear his prophecies.

    Now, that all can be said without me saying ‘you asking how to test prophecy kind of shows you haven’t understood the scriptural position’ and I wouldn’t say it with meaning either, as I think you have gone through the Bible, but you’re allowing the abuse to negate the use.

  10. Tim says:

    I’m going to ask for a rule of ettiquette: While you’re writing your comment, if you feel worked up from personal offense or frustration at someone else’s arrogance or ignorance or whatever, don’t post it. Put it aside, and come back to it later.

    I wrestle with this myself, as Hannah can testify, having been at the brunt end of my getting worked up.

    Writing things in that mood almost invariably results in something far less brotherly, well-thought-out, and beneficial than it would otherwise be.

  11. Tim says:

    And, by the way, Jair: If you think cessationism means that God doesn’t heal in response to prayer anymore, then you don’t understand the cessationist position. (Well… Some cessationists are like that, but it’s not the definition of cessationism.)

    I don’t know whether you were actually misunderstanding that way. I haven’t read your TeamPyro posts carefully, and don’t have the time at the moment. But that was Daryl’s perception–and if you misunderstand someone’s position, it’s not arrogant for them to say so. If they’re wrong, you should correct their perception. Replying with, “Actually, you’re misunderstanding me” is entirely appropriate, as is questioning them about their perception. All of that leads to edifying discussion. Getting offended doesn’t.

    Personally, I’m having a hard time seeing the major transgression in Daryl’s post. Perhaps the phrase “your little bit” is a little inflammatory, and could have been said with more grace–but if you get worked up over that, then you need to develop thicker skin. We need grace in how we hear just as much as we need grace in how we speak.

  12. Jair says:

    I’m sorry, I’ll more clearly explain the post. In the team Pyro meta I addressed primarily 1 Corinthians 13, which is the well known cornerstone of the ceasationlist argument. This passage deals specifically with tongues and prophecy, not with miracles of any other type. I dealt specifically with the things Daryl outlined as the core tenets of ceasationalism. Beyond that I gave testimony that my church sees healing simply by following scriptural procedures. This was a short paragraph on its own, and put there in case of hard or total ceasationalists, or for ceasationalists that do not believe in instant healing. Though in the initial post I did not specify that the healings at my church are sometimes instant, so that portion may be a misunderstanding.

    I don’t follow Hinn so I don’t know exactly what Daryl meant by Benny Hinn style healing, but the term in-the-temple kind of healing sounds to me like he does not believe in the instant healing after anointing either. If that is the case I cought him on all points before I ever met him. If he means something else by this kind of healing, then the last paragraph wasn’t targeted to him in the first place.

    Now, the offense does not come in the wording but in carelessness and false accusations in the reasoning itself.

    He opens with the charge of misunderstanding his position, in itself that is fine. Even the ‘kind of shows you don’t understand our position’ line is not a problem by itself. The next three sentences explaining the position, all fine, I didn’t specifically address any of those things, and its just explaining ones position.

    Then we get to the three things my post specifically addressed, neither acknowledging that they (especially the first two) where the very things I addressed nor feeling the need to actually engage the arguments. Moreover his explanation of his own position falsifies his claim that I do not understand his position.

    Now, you suggested saying “Actually, you’re misunderstanding me” however, that is not reasonably appropriate. I am not saying he misunderstood my argument, I am giving evidence that he never considered it and is unaware of its content. I never did say any more about ceasation then what was contained in 1 Corinthians 13. Even when I talked about healing it was primarily to extol the value of following scripture and secondarily to pre-empt total ceasationalists.

    And being so set in ones position that they reply without even being aware of the opponents case is a blatant bit of arrogance. I said I don’t like to reply so strongly, not that I don’t like to respond so passionately. There is a place for strong words, and here you have my reason for using them. Its observational, not reactionary.

    I did not defer to call it because spiritual pride is more destructive and divisive to the Churches than any ceasationalism, potty mouth preaching, or liberalism ever could be. To that end, addressing the tone is more important that the conversation itself.

  13. Tim says:

    Jair,

    You’re outlining your view well, but I still say that your reply to Daryl is lacking necessary grace. Your comment at TeamPyro was far briefer than your comments here, and did not lay things out with such clarity that you should start in with cries of arrogance.

    Daryl was talking about what you said on healing. Which was,

    Everybody hits a few ditches on the narrow way, but when you check you’rself and get on track even us baptists have occasional healings, and all we do is follow the procedures in James 5.

    And in the context you gave it, it does look like you were assuming that cessationists don’t believe in healing through prayer. I think that I would have misunderstood the same way that Daryl did. Really. (And even if he misunderstood because he read too quickly or some such… Hey, that happens. Especially on blogs. I have frequently misread someone’s comments, and missed something that made a huge difference. I did it earlier this week, in the Driscoll thread.)

    It’s far better to start with a clarification, and see how people respond–before going into a strong retort that you dislike giving. If someone persists in cursory reading and failure to listen accompanied by off-hand dismissal, then absolutely we should call them out.

    For example, check out an exchange from the Preachin’ Dirty entry. Russ criticized Phil, and I responded to him, but then Phil spoke up himself–and his response was far better than mine. He spoke with clarity, correction, and grace. He got the point across, and challenged Russ to think more carefully–but in a way that isn’t so likely to make him defensive.

    That’s probably a good nutshell for my point. That we should start with (1) clarification on the substance that people are missing, but (2) in a way that isn’t apt to make people defensive. It’s so much more helpful that way–and it keeps us from castigating people unnecessarily.

  14. Tim says:

    P.S. I’m not sure what Daryl means by in-the-temple healing either–but it may have nothing to do with whether the healing is instantaneous. My guess is that it has to do with commanding healing, rather than praying to the Father and requesting healing. That it has to do with a spiritual gift of healing, which allows someone to go around healing at will.

    Daryl, is that right?

    Along those lines, I would quote Sam Storms talking about the prayer of faith. My suspicion is that the commanded healings in the NT have to do with God’s Spirit moving Jesus and the apostles to speak, intended to heal–not that they had a gift that let them heal on command. Rather, God healed through them often & characteristically.

    What is the prayer of faith? This is not just any prayer to be prayed at will, but a unique and divinely motivated prayer. Note the definite article (“the”) before both “prayer” and “faith” (hence, “the prayer of the faith”). Most likely God enables individuals to pray this prayer according to His sovereign purposes. It is a prayer prompted by the Spirit-wrought conviction that God intends to heal the one for whom prayer is being offered (surely the faith here is more than merely believing that God is able to heal; this appears to be faith that He, in this particular case, is not only willing to heal, but willing to heal now). The faith necessary for healing is itself a gift of God, sovereignly bestowed when He wills. When God chooses to heal, He produces in the heart(s) of those praying the faith or confidence that such is precisely His intent. The particular kind of faith to which James refers, in response to which God heals, is not the kind that we may exercise at our will. It is the kind of faith that we exercise only when God wills.
    –Sam Storms, Healing in the New Testament Epistles – Part II

    Sam Storms’ collection of essays on divine healing is excellent.

  15. TBaker says:

    zerg rush?

  16. Jair says:

    Of course my comments on team pyro where shorter, expounding on something is always going to be longer than original statements, rare is the commentary shorter than the Bible. Now, as has been admitted on all sides, there are ceasationalists who believe all miracles, including instant healing have ceased. To my knowledge, which extends at least thought the mainline thought of my denomination, this is normative ceasationalism rather than an unusual view (the extreme saying all healing has ceased). It appears to me this is also Daryls view, though you have presented an interesting alternative, so I suppose we can only hope he comes back to clarify.

    I did err in what I said by not clearly specifying that it was instantaneous healing I was referring too, so that was less clear and does lend itself to the misunderstanding which you mention. Even so I am not inclined to back off of my charge unless Daryl was indeed talking about something other than instant healing. So long as that is what he meant by in-the-temple healing I still have him pre-empted on all counts.

    You have said clearly that you see my response as short on grace, that’s good, I know what you think of it. I also said clearly what I thought of his response, and he may take it or counter it. I’ve been explaining my post, and if even with explanation you have the view it is short on grace then perhaps you’re right. I’d rather be poinent though, zerg rush and all.

  17. Daryl says:

    I”ll have to answer all this later guys. I’m headed for a kidney transplant tomorrow and haven’t had time.

    I will say this though. Tim gets me and my questions, Jair doesn’t. And no, Jair, I ‘ve not seen that you understand the cessationist point of view very well. You may, but I’ve not seen it.

    Tim, in checking prophecy against Scripture, you get me. If the thought can’t be checked against Scripture, it can’t be expected to be listened to in my estimation.
    And yes, the healing in the temple thing I was referring to was the kind of Apostolic “gold and silver have I non” kind of thing. Benny Hinn, charlatan that he is, gets this at least. He knows that to claim Acts type healing, it can’t just be come elders praying for a guy.

    Jair, I’m fine with you not backing off except for one thing. Every time this topic comes up at Pyro, the guys go through the same exercise. Someone makes the claims you are making about cessationalism, and someone, usually one of the Pyro’s has to explain all over again that that is not the cessationist position. I’m not sure what you’ve run into in your experience, but denying healing and miracles wholesale is not what cessationists believe. You may have it mixed up with anti-supernaturalists.

    I’ve never seen an adqaute (in my view) response from the continualist side of the biblical need for perfection in prophecy and the idea that some “prophecies” must be accepted because they are not testable strikes me as kind of silly. I realize that’s probably not the totality of your position, I’m just sayin’. If continualists were OK with everyone in the church ignoring a prophecy because it wasn’t testable against Scripture (ie. God says buy that land over there…) then that would certainly raise the belief that a little discernment was happening, but in my extensive Charismatic experience, that doesn’t happen.

    Sorry, that’s all I have time for. Hopefully I’ll be able to give more thorough time to this while I recover.

    Thanks for your time so far.

    PS. Jair, if you’d spent a little less time addressing an imagined tone and a little more time actually outlining a position (ala Tim) we’d probably make more headway. We’re big boys, we can handle a little terseness from time to time.

  18. Daryl says:

    I can’t sleep so I have a little more time.

    i’ve re-read the comments on this post. I didn’t go back to the Pyro posts though. The thread there is too long and the comments related to this were pretty spread out.

    This whole thing of tone, though, has got me bugged. I read and re-read what I wrote. If there is any arrogance there, Jair, then all I can say is, the irony is rich is it not?

    There was none, there is none. Don’t read it in please.

    The basic cessastionist position as I understand it and as it is held by the Pyro’s is that the apostolic office is done (I don’t know anyone who genuinely disputes this. Even modern day “apostles” I’ve met are pretty specific about being “small-a” apostles.)
    And yes, I do believe that 1Cor 13 speaks to the closing of the canon ending tongues and prophecy.

    But the larger question off the top isn’t so much the ending/not ending of those gifts but the genuineness of what is claimed today.
    Tonges in the NT were specific known languages (in all instances where they are defined), which were heard and recognised as such immediately. Other than a friend of a friend of a friend in Africa kinds of stories, I’ve never heard of that happening today and certainly that is not what the gift of tongues is taught to be in charismatic circles. So the issue for the continualist is, why are you (not you Jair, you charismatics in general) callout out the pretend tongues speakers as frauds and where are the genuine article.
    Tongues today has been reduced to a completely unverifiable “prayer language” justification for which cannot be found in the Bible. I don’t expect you to take my word for that, but for what it’s worth, I grew up in the movement and never saw anyone defend that from Scripture in a viable way. If you can, I’d love to see it.
    Likewise prophecy. Is the bible sufficient to equip the man of God for every good work, as Paul wrote Timothy, or not? If not, why not. If so, then how can modern day “prophecies” be authoritative.
    I know continualists insist that they are not adding a 67th book. But if a “prophet” thinks that he must be taken authoritatively, is that not, defacto, what it happening? Why not?

    Likewise healing. Most every none anti-supernaturalist knows that God heals and does miracles. At issue is the apostolic gift like Oral Roberts claimed and Paul demonstrated. Healing on command because someone has that gift.

    See, in all these things, all but the most fringe charismatics (and I’m related to a few, believe me) recognized and don’t try to hide that the quality of what is claimed today is just nowhere near Acts. Not even close. So my question, beyond even the biblical justification (which I don’t think is there as you may have guessed) is, if they still exist, where are they?

    The burden of proof in one way is on me and my fellow cessationists, I agree. Does the Bible support our position. I think it does and history does as well.
    One the other hand, if the continualist view is correct, it should not be hard to prove. But, in my experience, it is only “proven” among the already convinced who have a very view of what proof might be required.

    So…to my big question…drumroll please….

    If those specific gifts are still extant in the church, why would they operate on such a low level so as to be an entirely different animal than the gifts recorded in the NT that they claim to be?

  19. Daryl says:

    That last bit should say “…very low view of what proof…”

  20. Daryl says:

    Jair,

    I just went back and found your comment on 1Cor 13.

    Ummm…with respect…are you serious? Do you really think that if the gift of knowledge were to pass away, the Bible goes too?

    Come on, you’ll need to do better than that.

    Think of this. If, as most continualists assert, “the perfect” refers to the coming of Christ, would any of them say that we would immediately lose all Scripture then. Or, to follow your line of reasoning, would anyone assert that when Jesus comes we instantly know nothing? Because whatever “the perfect” is, when it comes prophecy, knowledge and tongues will pass away. That much everyone agrees on.
    Knowledge spoken of there is the gift of knowledge, which is one of the revelatory gifts. Those pass away at the close of the canon because we now have God’s word to humanity.

    But even if it’s when Christ comes, still it’s referring to the gift of knowledge, not knowledge generally.

    At issue between continualists and cessationalists in that passage is what “the perfect” means. My greek sources (I don’t read greek) tell me that the article there is neutral, meaning it must be a thing and not a person, which, in my mind, follows that it would mean the canon.

  21. Daryl says:

    OK, I did some re-reading…grrrr.

    Jair, I’m not sure what the fuss is. You made one small post which had an arguement that I dealt with in my last post here. Other than that, both here and on the Pyro thread you’ve offered nothing to comment on or argue with.

    Sigh.

    Tim,
    We agree on most points I think. That is, we may not end up at the same points but you and I seem to be asking the same questions.
    At the risk of repeating myself, I agree that I worded my prophecy-as-quoting-Scripture in a silly sounding way. But I think my point still stands does it not? Even if you’re not quoting it directly but speaking in a way completely consistent with Scripture, why call it prophecy, why not call it expounding etc. My point is, if it’s not new, why call it prophecy, if it it new, why not call it false?

  22. Tim says:

    Daryl,

    I’ll give some more reply later. For now:

    1.) After I posted my last comment, I remembered something: I hate it when we start talking about the conversation, instead of focusing on the topic. (That’s called a “process story“, in political campaigns.) There’s a place for it, but it so easily swamps the discussion. We may spend hundreds of words trying to settle the “who spoke arrogantly or ungraciously” question–and either we don’t reach a resolution, or we do. And to some extent… Big whoop. If someone made a mistake in their approach, big whoop! (They should want to know, and should seek to grow in their approach, mind you.)

    If we’re not spending time talking about the topic, then I’d say this:

    The “what happened in our discussion” question isn’t as important as the “what should happen in our discussions” question.

    2.) Daryl, on tongues, you could check out my entry:
    An Exhausting Set of Questions on Tongues

    It’s a list of questions that we have to answer when we examine the issue, more than a sustained argument for the glossolalia view–though I imagine that a strong cessationist wouldn’t come up with all the same questions. Hopefully, there will be some food for thought for you.

  23. Tim says:

    Daryl,

    And no, Jair, I ‘ve not seen that you understand the cessationist point of view very well.
    ...
    Someone makes the claims you are making about cessationalism, and someone, usually one of the Pyro’s has to explain all over again that that is not the cessationist position. I’m not sure what you’ve run into in your experience, but denying healing and miracles wholesale is not what cessationists believe.

    Here’s part of the problem, Daryl: You’re talking (and thinking?) in terms of “the” cessationist position, and telling Jair “what cessationists believe”. You’re telling him that “cessationists” believe in miracles. Which is an overly broad claim. You can say “cessationism doesn’t mean ‘miracles don’t happen’”, but some cessationists do believe precisely that.

    (This is similar to “Calvinists don’t believe that God loves everyone.” Some self-described Calvinists say precisely that.)

    So, educate people about the broader meaning of “cessationism”, but you can’t necessarily say that they’ve misunderstood anything. They may have understood perfectly, whoever they were talking to. (You can say “You misunderstood me,” or “you misunderstood the Pyromaniacs”.) Phil Johnson did this well, in the link I posted above.

    In other words, keep in mind that they may “misunderstand” cessationism because they met the extreme variety of cessationist. Your correction should take that into account.

  24. Tim says:

    In other words, this is just another reason for the general advice:

    Focus on clarification and substance, less on talking about the other person’s style & understanding. (Either they’re not misunderstanding, or they are–in which case the more important thing is that they start to understand what you’re saying, not that they admit they were misunderstanding.)

  25. Daniel says:

    “# Daryl Says:
    March 12th, 2009 at 6:39 am

    It seems to me that as soon as you bring the idea of a “fallible report”, you’re into people claiming prophecy when, in fact, they’re missing stuff and adding stuff. Deuteronomy calls that person a false prophet and from there on out, they’re done.”

    Technically they are not done as 1 Kings 13:11-26 shows. To briefly sum it up… There you will find a prophet telling another prophet that he has heard from God, when he actually made it up for his own reasons. So far that is pretty straight forward – He is a false prophet. Then, however, God uses him in a genuine capacity as a true prophet to pronounce the judgment on the other prophet… So is he a false prophet, or a true prophet who was willing to tell a lie and even blasphemously claim God’s sanction for it.

    Do you see, how even a true prophet could claim a prophecy to manipulate (it doesn’t say much for his character), but yet God could still use him to give genuine prophecies later. If it could happen with a OT prophet could it not happen with the gift of prophecy?

  26. Tim says:

    FYI, I do intend to weigh in on Daryl’s prophecy stuff, but it may be a while–my study/writing time is devoted to preparing for a “healing” presentation in a class at my church.

    Which is fun-ly topical. My church is charismatic, and my partner and I are presenting on Francis MacNutt’s book about healing and healing ministry. It has a couple flaws, I think–aside from his Catholic influence–but he does a wonderfully balanced job of discussing the practice and theory of prayer for healing, along with our attitudes toward sickness and the sovereignty of God. (The description of sickness and God’s will is the weakest, IMO, but I wouldn’t call it bad. Just not well-expressed. He does advocate a strong submission to whatever God’s answer to prayer turns out to be.)

    (BTW, Daryl–I think you have some “misunderstanding of the charismatic position on healing”, so to speak. There’s definitely some poor stuff from Benny Hinn and his ilk, but the charismatic movement also encompasses a view of healing that may be very close to your own in substance. Or even identical, in substance if not in terminology. I’m not sure where you and Jair are, precisely, but we may all be there together. My only other comment would be that charismatics typically emphasize, “We want to pray like we really believe that God answers prayers.” And they’re more likely than others to err in the presumptuous “claim the healing, God will say yes” direction. I don’t know whether that’s worse than failing to pray because we don’t really believe that it matters.)

    Daniel,

    Do you see, how even a true prophet could claim a prophecy to manipulate (it doesn’t say much for his character), but yet God could still use him to give genuine prophecies later. If it could happen with a OT prophet could it not happen with the gift of prophecy?

    Hmm… Do you argue that 1 Kings 13:11-26 implies, “They didn’t need to apply the ‘stone the prophet whose prophecy fails’ principle”?

    God might work truth through false prophets, and yet they would still warrant stoning for their false prophecy. So I don’t see how this demonstrates that prophecy can include a fallible gifting.

    (Mind you, I think Grudem does present some good arguments. I just don’t see the strength in this one.)

  27. Daryl says:

    Tim,

    Thanks for your response. I don’t think either of us has time to conduct an exhaustive discussion here…but still, all the raising of questions is a good thing.

    And about the “discussing the conversation rather than the issue” great point, well taken. Thanks.

    I liked your list of question re: tongues. We probably have a very similar list although yours would be more exhaustive because some of your questions further down the list, presuppose and answer to previous questions that I would’t give. Still, all good questions well asked.

    Re- the charismatic view of healing. I agree, partly. Sometimes what is called “the gift of healing” is really just believers practising what James says we should practice. And so are not technically the gift of healing. My point about Benny Hinn isn’t that all Charismatics think he’s on the level, clearly not all do. But my point is that he (Mr Hinn) understands what the NT gift was (commanded healing) and tries to do that. I recognize that many Charismatics believe him to be out to lunch.
    Your last bit about Charismatic praying like they believe it. I agree with you and I also agree that it is presumptuous to assume you’ll get what you ask for. I think it’s equally wrong to assume that prayer makes no difference. I think the bible teaches that all prayer is essentially asking a favour (from our end) and from God’s end it’s a means he uses to accomplish his predetermined plan.

    Again, you and I are not so far apart I think, even though some of our end-of-the-day conclusions differ.
    Frank Turk had a post some time ago where he stated that the similarities between a cautious cessationist and a cautious charismatic are far more than their differences. I think that’s probably you and I.

    By the way, I’m on the other side of surgery today. I have my new kidney and things seem to be going well. God is good.

  28. Jair says:

    Been busy, so I have to do catchup.

    Daryl, you should note that most of my reply to you dealt with you’re questions on prophecy. Probably around 70%, and the other 30% only kept coming up because you weren’t here so Tim and I had nothing better to discuss.

    You agreed the burden of proof was on you’re position, you said you believe scripture to support it, but you haven’t brought any scripture to bear. What scripture says about it is far more foundational than any observed evidences.

    The hitch in me describing you’re position is that arbitrarily assigns any undesirable gifts to be apostle specific, but I can’t in good conscience concede the list of gifts mentioned are in any way Apostolic Gifts. 2 Corinthians 12:12 talks about the sings on an apostle, but it does not list them, other than that I can’t see a tie. You must remember that largest chunk of epistles describing and prescribing these gifts where addressed to congregations, and where not inter apostolic memos. The apostolic gift consists of excersizing authority over churches, its the commissioned ambassador job.

    Now, if this role was gone with the thirteen, Paul was confused when puting the role of the apostle in the first place of authority in God’s eyes, then in the same breath telling the Corinthian congregation to desire the best gifts.

    So, no, the apostolic ability cannot be gone, the 12 who Christ called in his life are surely dead, and St.Paul is dead, but the ability to guide and exercise authority over churches is alive and well. Ironically McAurthor himself exhibits this ability, writing often messages to other Christians and even things aimed at Pastors and Church leaders.

    Now, to understand this passage of Corinthians we have to look into all the clauses and reasons for these things happening. Why will toungs, knowledge, and prophecy pass away? Because they are partial, they are incomplete. Perfect refers to the endpoint, the point of completion, the point of maturity. In this passage it may refer to personal death, or the end of the world and the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven, but the contrast shows it does not refer to the close of cannon.

    Perfect and partial are the contrasting ideas, the best way I can think render them here is complete and incomplete. The logic here is that when things are complete, anything that is incomplete ceases to exist in the proper sense (or rather, it is consumed and contained in the complete). Scripture is knowledge of God, (Gifted to us if the context helps) it does not offer complete knowledge of God’s person or his activities. It gives us everything we need right now, but when we have God face to face, scripture is useless. Prophecy, which offers temporal knowledge, is also overshadowed to the point of uselessness, and what need do we have for tongues when we are with God, to whom shall we evangelize?

    So, incomplete, imperfect knowledge as we know it passes away, what we know then makes anything we know or understand now be effectively nothing. The statement that knowledge will vanish is dramatic flair on the part of the translation, the root links to things like Romans 3:3 “Shall it make faith in God of none effect?” Its probably better to say it will be made useless or rendered idle.

    Interestingly, the only thing that this verse says will actually stop is tongues, prophecy and knowledge will still exist, but they will be a useless drop in the bucket compared to the value of love.

    So, in context do you have any way to render scripture that supports either that the gifts you believe have stopped are apostolic specific or that any gifts have now stopped.

    Now, you’ve felt the need to repeatedly assert that I don’t understand you’re position, but I’ve stated from the begging that you’re position is that tongues, prophecy, and instantaneous healing have ceased. I got you on all those points, I won’t play you’re semantic game calling them apostolic gifts, but I’ve got pegged down what you think those gifts exactly are. Buck up and come to grips that I understand you’re position and reject it, scripturaly even.

  29. Daryl says:

    Jair,

    Please understand that I have no problem with someone seeing the same Scriptural evidence and reaching a different conclusion. Tim and I have repeatedly acknowledge that very thing about each other while welcoming the discussion.

    So, on to your post:

    Firstly, the apostolic role is never described as a function but as a group of people, the primary descriptor of which is having met the Lord face to face. That doesn’t happen anymore, and I’ve never heard of a self-described “apostle” claiming it.

    Here Paul describes one of the qualifications of an apostle:

    1 Corinthians 9:1 “Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord?”

    Here Pauls identifies himself as the last apostle:

    I Corinthians 15:8-9 “and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.”

    Here John tells us how many there are:

    Revelation 21:14 “And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”

    Secondly, nowhere do I describe any gifts as “undesireable”. My heavens, what could possibly be undesireable about the ability to perform miracles or healings on command?

    Thirdly, I Corinthians 12:12 “The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles.”

    Also Hebrews 2:3-4 says ” After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.”

    “Those who had heard” is a reference to the apostles. It must be for who else heard all the the Lord himself taught? And, just to make sure I’ve covered it, Paul, in Galatians, tells us that he spent 2 years in Arabia beeing taught by the Lord himself.

    And, to clarify one thing, the verse says “and by gifts…” not “and by THE gifts…” meaning some of the gifts, not necessarily all of the gifts.

    So, even if you and I differ in the definition of which gifts qualify as a “sign and wonder” still, there we have defined who held those gifts or at least, during whose ministry they were performed, whether by the apostle alone or by others. I think the evidence in Acts is that they were specific to the Apostolic age and not just the Apostles, but that they were intended to demonstrate the inherent authority of the Apostolic teaching. I think it is not difficult to identify gifts of healings and miracle as “signs” and administration as something else. And, in Acts, it was those specific gifts, healings and miracles, that were used by the apostles to demonstrate their authority, and, interestingly enough, those were the gifts that false teachers tried to emulate. That also tells me that the charlatans recognized that if they were to be taken seriously, they’d better be able to do something visible and big.

    Fourthly, 1 Corinthians 13 vs 8 says this “but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.”

    The point in the following verse is not that partiality will pass away when Christ comes, I think the point is that when the canon is complete, partial prophecy will become redundant because we will then have the complete Word of God, and so, being redundant, God will stop giving it. Same with knowledge (reading that, as I mentioned in a previous post as the gift of knowledge, not knowledge generally, that, of course, can never pass away, not even in heaven).
    The issue with all three then, is not whether they will pass away but when. I don’t believe the coming of Christ can be described as a “thing” nor do I see that as necessary to understanding these verses. The following verses about seeing in part and through a glass darkly are a different thought.

    What those verses do not say is the knowledge and prophecy won’t pass away but will become useless. The phrase is “done away”. That reads to me like they will be gone, not pointless.

    So there you go, you may disagree with all of this, but at least see that I’m not playing “semantic games”.

    You may understand my position or not, I’m not sure, but really Jair, should anyone change their mind because you, or any other layman, rejects their conclusions? I like to think I’ve reached my conclusions on something a little more solid than what some guy thinks. Hopefully you have too. I wouldn’t expect you to change your mind based on my conclusions, thats not the point of this discussion, or at least I didn’t think so.

  30. Jair says:

    Daryl,

    Well, you’re first reference is a list of rhetorical questions, and refer back to his action in 1Cor 8:13, do remember that chapter marks are manufactured, not usually actual breaks in a point or the text. Paul is dealing with a controversy, advocating an even more controversial action (not doing something just because it offends someone else) and defends and advocates what he is doing. Is he not an Apostle (yes, so they should pay attention to what he does) Is he not free (Yes, so he refrains from the meat by his own choice) Did he not see Christ (he did, and that is another mark of authority) Are they not his work in the lord (Yes, so he always did lead them) The context doesn’t close until 9:4 where he finishes talking about what he eats and drinks.

    Seeing certain things in scripture is good, I more than most see that, but what you did there was played plastic surgeon. Are there any verbal or logical tags in that passage that in any way imply that he is making a list of what an apostle is? Apostle is a word, with a standard definition, not a unique title conjured up for the prestige of the thirteen.

    1 Cor 15, the word is least, not last. Last to see Christ, least of all apostles, but he was not least because he was last, he was least because he persecuted the church. That could be chalked up to different interpretations. The things that strikes me is that if you where going to try 1 Cor 15, how you would call 8-9 and totally miss 7. 7 Is actually pretty useful to you’re cause, but I guess you paper mache too much to read even one verse of context.

    It’s what people miss that tells you the most about how they read scripture isnt it?

    Rev is pretty straightforward. The twelve have a special title here, apostles of the lamb rather than apostle general.

    Second point,

    I think the subtext of what I meant when I said you found these gifts to be undesirable is not hard to get at. The gifts are undesirable to you’re philosophy, plus you’ve got a major contempt for the misuse (justifiable contempt) which inclines you to go Texas PD on a whole group without total evaluation.

    Third point,

    I’m leaving 2nd Corinthians for last, because it is by far the most important thing you’ve referenced other than you’re own closing statements.

    As for Hebrews, we all know they had abilities, they may or may not have had any particular ability. We’re talking about weather God has changed or not, I doubt you think that I believe there where never any gifts. So, unless the passage deals with them stopping or puts limits or definitions on them you just wrote three paragraphs of red herring.

    Now, is the logic of the closing paragraph to the third point really ‘It happened then, it was obvious, so it doesn’t happen now.’ Whats the linking sequence there, you’re skepticism? Are you really mirroring the Atheist “God is big, I don’t see him, so he doesn’t exist.”, only on a smaller scale?

    If that reason passes the muster for you just say so, but know who’s wisdom you emulate.

    Now, the long awaited fourth point, finally what was begun many posts ago actually continues.

    The contrast between our exegesis is a thing of beauty. This, this is what you should pay attention too, this is all about how someone treats the Bible and lives by it.

    I’ve taken pains to lay out the clauses and subtleties of meaning and letting the text speak. You’ve taken a snippet and created you’re own definitions (Or neglected to learn the proper meaning) you’ve segmented things that have clearly continuing lines of though, its an atrocity. Where to start…

    You said see through a glass darkly was a different clause, but 13:1 starts dealing with Charity and that carries right through to 14:1, but 2 is still talking about tongues and prophecies in the same context, and that carries on till 39, which is extremely damning in that it says “1Co 14:39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. ”

    Now, there is clear proof in the immediate link of the concepts because 13:11 deals directly with the concept of maturity (which is a concept directly related to what we translate as perfection) and 13:12 starts with the clause ‘for’ meaning that it is absolutely linked to the previous verse.

    So, no, its not valid to say that “1Co 13:10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. ” Is a separate thought from “1Co 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. ”

    Without that separation of clauses you’re position is already dead. You may think the point is about the close of Cannon, but the cannon (or even the Hebrew scripture, which the NT actually does reference) is not talked about anywhere in this vicinity. That interpretation is you making you’re imagination supersede scripture. Actual usage of the word perfect deals with perfect love or perfect action or perfect faith or perfect law, its never even remotely applied to Cannon, so what do you have?

    As for the term “the perfect thing” That’s just MKJV isn’t it? Perhaps a few more handle it like that. It’s also (usually, I think) rendered ‘that which is perfect’ either way, its not much use speculating what it is when it can’t have happened, because we do not yet see face to face. The person who would peg that perfect as being the coming of Christ would say it is the coming of his kingdom, like this, “Thy kingdom come”, “the perfect come” but its hard to tie the word perfect to make it applicable to the kingdom as well. It usually deals with people and personal actions.

    Though a glass darkly isn’t about to go away.

    Now, if you’re angling to prove you’re lack of attention, you’re lack of seriously engaging admonition, you’re doing a great job. I dealt with 2 Corinthians 12:12 (because it is second you quote, not first) right above you, once again pre-empting you’re points before you laid a keystroke to make them. That should be humbling, or at least embarrassing.

    It goes in to why you don’t like that I understand you’re position, and even you’re reasoning, you don’t want to have to change you’re mind. You certainly do like to think you’ve reached you’re conclusions on something more solid than what some guy thinks. The problem is, you’re some guy.

    That’s why while I’m trying to stay on tack on scripture where debate points are, you’re bo hooing like an upset teen about not being understood on one side and when that falls through you’re puffing yourself up, after all, how could a stranger offer you insight to scripture. Its better you believe me to be a lay man, its more humbling on conviction.

    You admitted the burden of proof, but so far you’ve been crutching heavily on a pantheistic ‘you have you’re view and I have mine’ For things we cant know such a resolution is fine, but we are discussing actual events and clear scripture. Either these things are happening or they are not. My potion has natural reading on its side, and allows that every case of God’s power may be evaluated to be good or deceptive. You charge every Christian that operates with a certain set of abilities with lying or demoncraft. That’s not a position to take lightly.

    When push comes to shove you’re telling people to do exactly, once again EXACTLY, what St.Paul told the Corinthians not to do. I don’t feel the need to pull punches when scripture is openly defied.

  31. Jair says:

    I got a project for several weeks, its a pity but I can’t continue here. If you want to pull my closing reply Tim that’s good, or else someone else can pick up the line of thought, either way I can’t maintain it.

    If there is something important here Daryl, its you’re outlook. You’ve shown tells of spiritual pride and a bad attitude to the laity, and made an intent separation from ‘those people that do weird things’ and pride is the root of divisions that keeps them alive. Carefull examination for pride is the most critical to walk with God and other Christians.

  32. Daryl says:

    Jair,

    Not sure what to say. You’ve missed what I’ve said and how I’ve said it pretty badly. It’s clear you’re not interesting in discussion and, despite the fact that you’ll no doubt take this as running away with my tail between my legs, it’s not.

    I’m through. Apparently I’m too spiritual prideful for such a humble man as you.

    For the record, as soon as you start throwing around unfound accusations of pride and stuff like that simply because someone disagrees with you, that’s where I step out.

    Enjoy yourself.

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